Mera’s House: Updates in Opal’s Bedroom

IMPORTANT NOTE:  In case you missed it, my beloved, esteemed, dazzling, exceptional co-blogger Katie B. is a finalist in the Design*Sponge essay contest!  The winner will be chosen by popular vote, set to begin on Friday.  All of the essays posted so far have been great reads, but if you ask me Katie’s is head and shoulders above the rest. THAT’S MY FRIEND!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Neither Chester nor I speak a second language or play an instrument, and we’re not particularly artistic, either.  Basically we are boring parents whose idea of a good time involves eating oatmeal every morning and every evening watching 45 minutes of PBS programming while wearing non-constricting clothing (if you haven’t seen Poldark you haven’t lived!).  Luckily for Opal our extended family more than fills in the dull and uncultured spaces (chasms?) left by us.  We’re hoping that she will pick up some musicality from her trumpet-playing grandpa, a love of languages from her aunt from Thailand or her uncle from Serbia, and a creative inclination from her two artist grandmas.  Cuz lawd knows she ain’t gettin’ it from us.

Chester’s mom Katy is a painter (who has her own blog which you should definitely be reading).  She sends Opal the sweetest watercolor postcards, and we’ve amassed quite a collection.  I have been trying to figure out how to display them for a long time, with an eye toward this blank wall in Opal’s room:

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

I thought about framing the postcards and hanging them here, but I was reluctant because framing would conceal the little notes on the back.  The notes are so loving and totally magical to Opal — one of them has a small envelope taped to it that contains a little tuft of bunny fur that Granny Katy found in her garden.  So I really wanted Opal to be able to look at both sides of the cards and interact with them and, eventually, read them.

The solution I came up with is inelegant, but it achieves the objectives of displaying the original artwork while not hiding the messages on the back: I velcroed them to the wall.

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Because they are not framed, and because they are meant to be moved around and enjoyed by a three year old, I wanted to make sure the velcro pieces were evenly placed so that the arrangement would be as tidy as possible.  I arranged the postcards on the floor and figured out the outer dimensions, and then drew a grid on the wall in pencil.  I found the center of each box in the grid and put a half inch square of velcro there, and on the center of each postcard.

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

You can just barely see the grid lines in the photo on the right. Erasing them took longer than all the other steps in this project combined.

I really like the way it turned out; it makes the room feel more complete and, best of all, very personal.

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Opal and Chester went for a hike while I was putting this together.  She came home exhausted, with her pants on sideways and covered in chocolate milk and dirt, but here is a video of the first time she saw the postcards on the wall:

I’m with Opal, I like all of them, but here are a few of my favorites close up:

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

And here is Cromwell, happily bathing in the sunshine and demonstrating that the artist’s rendition is kind.

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

We also recently converted Opal’s crib to a toddler bed.  I never thought she’d sleep for so long in her crib, but she did, happily and without incident.  Then on a recent day she declared that she was going to sleep on the floor because her baby brother (who is imaginary) was asleep in the crib.  We pulled the mattress out and put it on the floor, and there she slept for the next few nights until we finally took the hint and got the toddler bed conversion kit out of the basement.

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

Red House West || Updates in Opal's Room

So that’s the latest in Opal’s room.  Thanks to you for reading along, and a huge thanks and much love to Granny Katy for sending Opal such beautiful original art in postcard form, and for letting me share it here.

Oh, and if you’re a RHW subscriber don’t be alarmed if you receive an extra email from us this week.  It’s just me, reminding you to VOTE 4 K80 in the Design*Sponge essay contest!

16 responses on “Mera’s House: Updates in Opal’s Bedroom

  1. Brittany @ white dog vintage

    Wow, this is incredibly special, and your velcro solution is pretty much perfect. Opal’s reaction is priceless–I love how steps back to admire the installation. She also seems to be a very agreeable art critic, which the world generally could use more of. 🙂 If you do ever decide to frame these, I have a post card in a “two-way” picture frame that has two pieces of glass and just a frame around the outside back to secure everything. I think it’s actually called a floater frame, maybe? I found mine at Target.

    1. Mera Post author

      Thanks for the tip, Brittany! That is my favorite moment in the video too–the brief but complete appraisal–it’s so Opal. Thank you!

  2. Carol Bryner

    This is such a great solution. Lucky Opal who inspired all these wonderful little cards, and who now can look at them and have them be a part of her everyday. Her room looks great, by the way. Good job!

  3. Mera Post author

    I know, what three-year old has a bedroom filled with original art, all made specifically for her? They are treasures, as is Opal herself. Thanks!

  4. Susan Glassow

    Such a wonderful way to present the cards. You are all so fortunate in Katy’s animated drawings…I feel Opal and the cats could pop right in for a visit at any moment when I’ve seen some of them on her blog.

    And her bed…such an excellent conversion, magical really, curtains framing it. Dreamland, absolutely.

  5. Susanna-Cole King

    Aw, Opal, I can relate to the “and I like this one and this one and this one…” to all the art I have on my walls. Covering the walls with what you love (and made with love too, how sweet), is a wonderful way to go, and like you said, it goes a long way in making a room fill homey and complete.

    Also, I’m glad you said something about Katie’s essay, not knowing surnames, and being a newer reader to your blog, I hadn’t even realized that the same Katie as here, but I loved her essay. Actually I loved it so much I think that was the essay that made me say, “no way I made the cut!” but somehow I did anyway. Would be happy to see her win! 🙂

  6. Jen

    Oh my gosh, how special. I am in the running for a job that would require a move out of state and away from my beloved 2 year-old nephew. If I get it, I think I will borrow the post card idea. Thank you for the inspiration.

  7. Laura (PA Pict)

    Opal is a very lucky girl to have so many people with diverse talents in her life. How special that she has a collection of art work created just for her! I think original art work, especially if one has a connection to the artist, helps to create that atmosphere of a home being a personal space. For years I resisted putting my own artwork on the walls because it felt a bit egomaniacal and because I was not confident that my work was good enough to be wall-worthy. Now I love that my art work is on our home’s walls along with original art work by various friends. I am sure Opal will treasure each and every postcard for a long time to come.

  8. Dree

    Hi Mera, I adore Opal’s gallery wall – it’s such a perfect solution for her beautiful personalised art work. She can interact with it and it just looks so pretty. What a lucky little girl she is! I have a little girl the same age as Opal and I really thought of her when I watched your video – liking “that one” and “that one” and “that one” … it’s just like my little one would say – so lovely to love to many things! Also, my little girl just had her cot changed to a “big girl” bed last week too. It’s so nice to see a little girl at the other side of the world (we’re in France) radiating as much joy as our little girl. Sending lots of hugs from one three-year-old’s Mum to another – love your blog! Dree xo.

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